El Niño Benefit: State Snowpack Higher Than Normal

California water managers say the Sierra Nevada has an above-average snowpack for this time of year, yet it's not enough to make a dent in California's stubborn drought.

Department of Water Resources spokesman Doug Carlson said preliminary estimates taken Wednesday show that recent storms boosted the snowpack's statewide water content to 112 percent of normal for late December.

Officials say it will take moisture levels much greater than normal to have a substantial impact on the drought.

This year, a series of snowstorms in the Northern Sierra has helped the snow pack exceed average for the first time in years.

National Weather Service meteorologist Nathan Owen says more than a foot of new snow could fall over the weekend at Lake Tahoe.

The winter's wet start comes as a sharp contrast to last year.

On Jan. 1, the snow pack measured at 45 percent of the historical average. By April 1, it was at 5 percent, marking a record low.

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